I like to stay up on the current trends in headshots and of course headshot photography news as it comes ‘hot off the press’ as they say.
Occasionally I come across some advice that really bucks the trend and in some cases is rubbish. Regular readers will know I like to give useful advice to help actors improve their chances of getting a great headshot, you’ll also know I often warn people to be wary of ‘amateur photographers’.
There isn’t a professional governing body that regulates photographers, you don’t have to have any qualifications to call yourself a professional photographer – indeed I myself don’t have any at all other than 25 years experience. If you are an electrician or car mechanic for example you have to pass industry standard exams before you can practice solo – this isn’t the case with photographers, a camera is all you need.
One of the results of sophisticated digital cameras becoming cheaper and cheaper is that it’s easier now to take a half decent photo than ever before. Therefore there are more and more part-time or amateur people calling themselves headshot photographers without the knowledge or skill to back it up. Even many actors now advertise themselves as headshot photographers with the tag line ‘I’m an actor so I know what a good headshot is’ – well maybe if they had a great headshot they’d be busy as an actor and wouldn’t have the time to shoot headshots?
The point I’m trying to make is that there isn’t any regulation in the business and IF you’re a new actor to the business it’s
easy to follow the wrong advice. I feel really sad and frustrated when clients come to me after suffering poor or misleading advice AND after wasting much of their money and time!
Here’s an article that is just that – full of poor advice – (to be honest I’m not sure if it’s a send up and done in jest or not, maybe theie photo is a giveaway?). Read the full article here If you’re new to the business and followed this advice you’d have a set of photographs that are totally unsuitable for your purpose. What actor needs a photo of themselves “squatting on a train track?” or ‘with a sexually-ready face?”
Come on this is not the range of headshots that an actor needs, admittedly the market in the USA is different to the UK but not that different, I can imagine a model needing some of those shots but not an actor. I wonder if these guys are simply having a joke on us maybe they are because they say they shoot their headshots on an iPhone 4S?
As a final thought, please do your research when looking for a headshot photographer, there are lots and lots of really good shooters out there with tons of experience and knowledge to pass on to you. There are publications such as Contacts and Spotlight where you can view plenty of headshots photographer’s work side by side. One final point to consider is the issue of cost. It can be very short sighted to base your choice of photographer on the cheapest price point; often they’re cheap for a reason. I strongly believe that it’s better to save hard or give a miss to a few nights out and put that money towards your headshot. Remember it’s your career that you are dealing with; a weak or poor headshot can do immense damage to your career especially if you are just starting out. Check out this blog post for more info on choosing your headshot photographer. Also if you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line.
– Headshot Photography News?